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The Foundry Files— An Intern’s Blog

The following is the first installment of a series of blog posts by MODERN CASTING’s 2011 summer intern Amanda Zarate.

A college student can take two different roads during summer vacation. One is choosing the proof of SPF to apply before going out to the beach, lake or pool. The other road winds towards finding a job via an internship. My roadmap pointed towards an internship this year.

I began my search and stumbled upon an internship posting for the American Foundry Society (AFS). I had no idea what a foundry was, and naturally, as any inquisitive person near a computer would do, I typed it into Google. Wikipedia defined foundry as “a factory that produces metal castings,” and some of the fog started to clear (but just a little). I continued to research before my interview and learned AFS publishes two magazines about the metalcasting world, MODERN CASTING and Metal Casting Design & Purchasing, to inform readers about the latest news, products and trends related to the industry. The picture in my mind of factory workers was growing, and yet another layer of foggy confusion was being lifted away.

The time had arrived to begin my journey into the world of foundries and metal castings, and I was still uneasy about what little I knew of the industry. Within my first week—no, within my first day—I learned so much just by flipping through MODERN CASTING magazine and looking at pictures of different castings.

When I thought I had the hang of it and could explain to my friends and family how I would be spending my days interning for AFS, I tried to enlighten them and show off my newly acquired knowledge. I explained to them that it’s a society that deals with metal castings and foundries that are in some way, shape or form involved in creating 90% of the things we encounter in our lives.

But as my knowledge of the industry grows, I will have to go back and tell everyone there’s a lot more to it: different processes, different systems, molds and materials, and the list is growing. I was overwhelmed at first thinking I would never get through the cloudiness, but metalcasting is a truly interesting subject. Now, I look at things around me, and I know they are related to the foundry: wheel chairs, pots, pans, artwork, car engines and so much more.

I walked into this world of foundries as a novice, but I’m determined to proudly strut out an expert— well maybe not an expert, but closer to it than I am today. Will you follow along with me into the world of metal castings? No sunscreen is required.